Full Show Index
Advertise With Us
Write For Us
American Idol’s Official Book – Flashy, Positive, and Exactly What You Would Expectby David Bloomberg -- 08/29/2002
View Printable version of this article
The official American Idol book, by Marissa Walsh, is currently classified on Amazon.com as being for ages 4-8. Don’t let that bother you – they’re wrong. While the book is definitely aimed at younger readers, we’re talking about teenagers here, not little kids. But no matter how old you are, if you are a fan of American Idol, you may well want to pick up a copy.
Every page of this book is glossy and filled with photos of the various contestants, judges, and hosts. I was surprised as I read through it that I had already forgotten so many of the faces from the semi-final 30. I recall those I disliked (such as Rodesia) and those I had liked but who hadn’t made it (such as Natalie), but had pretty much no memory of those like Brad Estrin, Gil Sinuet, Jamar (apparently he has only one name), Jazmin Lowery, Christopher Badano, or Melanie Sanders. How quickly we forget.
Each of the final 10 have a two-page spread dedicated to them, with different questions and answers. For example, one standard question is whether the contestants read the message boards. Most say they do and just ignore the negative comments. Several noted that they wished they could respond, but are not allowed to. Ah, interesting.
It is also interesting to see how some of the contestants have changed. Nikki, for example, looked much less… I don’t know how to describe – refined, maybe? She looked like she had indeed just walked out of a karaoke bar. Later on, she still maintained her punky image, but did so while simultaneously looking nicer.
The hosts share their own two-page spread as well. And we finally find out what their actual jobs are! “Ryan provides the narration, asks the probing questions, and wears the great shirts.” Hmmm. Well, he narrates, anyway. “Brian is funny and always quick on his feet with an off-the-cuff remark.” Hmmm again. OK, here is the interesting part: “Their job is to give the viewers at home a break from the tension of the performances and the judges’ critiques, but they also serve as a buffer and a sounding board for the contestants. … Ryan and Brian dry the tears and build up bruised egos. And they really do seem to care.” First, the tension of the performances and the judges’ critiques are why we watch! As for that last sentence, yes, they really do seem to care. But as Simon asked Ryan when AJ was voted off, what do they actually do for the contestants?
Anyway, brief resumes are given for both hosts, along with the three judges. From there, we begin a recap of the trip that brought American Idol to our screens – cutting down the 10,000 or so applicants to the final 10, and every step along the way. We once again meet some of our favorites – such as Jacquette Williams, the self-described “big girl” – and least favorites – such as Tamika. Remember Rose, the girl who astounded Randy by saying she was not trying to do the right notes? Or Elias, dressed as Zorro with an “America Will Love Simon” shirt on underneath?
The author, Marissa Walsh, puts in some nice amusing sarcasm of her own that would be worthy of Simon. For example, when Joshua Crumpton, who had made it to the top 65, complains that he did the best he could with what he had to work with, Walsh notes, “Uh, from what we can tell, Josh had free airfare, a free hotel room, a pianist teaching him the song, two other singers to practice with, and free advice from three music professionals to work with.” Ouch.
Later in the book there are short snippets of advice from the vocal coach, the stylist, and even Paula Abdul. Ironically, Paula says her advice is that “you have to be brutally honest with yourself.” What? Then why doesn’t Paula begin by endorsing Simon’s brutal honesty? That answer, I’m afraid, cannot be found in these pages.
While, as would be expected, most of the book showcases the positive aspects of American Idol, it is not all sweetness and light. The incident with Delano Cagnolatti lying about his age is briefly discussed, as is Nikki’s tiff with Kristin. But we still don’t get the full story of the latter – just how Nikki was unhappy to be placed in the situation of discussing it while on the air.
Perhaps the most telling part of the book is its very beginning. The book opens with a quote, appropriately by Simon Cowell. He said, “Everyone wants to be famous, everyone thinks they’re great and most aren’t.” It is classic Simon. And this book is classic American Idol -- flashy, mostly positive, and a good reminder of what has led up to the point we are at now.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! For all our articles about this show, check out the American Idol page. For a look at Dana’s columns, take a peek at the Reality From La-La Land page. Also drop by our sections on Bachelorettes in Alaska and Big Brother 3. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
View Printable version of this article